Travelling For Less Than $25: Floating Market, Damnoen Saduak, Thailand

Damnoen Saduak is the name of the canal connecting Taachin River and Maklong River, but it’s mostly known as floating market. Every year it gathers hundreds of thousands of tourists.

Busy Floating Market, Bangkok, Damnoen Saduak
Busy Floating Market in the morning.

Thus, if you want to see it, set out early in the morning to experience local atmosphere before tourists outnumber locals. Needless to say, the market gets crowdy, loud and sometimes smelly, which makes it perfect place to experience Thailand and take stunning photos.

Cez holding a camera, siting in a boat
Ready for photos!

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Overview

Budget: Less than $25 per person

Country: Thailand

Location:  ~100km south-west from Bangkok

Currency: Baht (US$1 = ~30 Baht)

Time required: 1/2 – 1 day

Minimum number of people: 1

How to get there

Although there’s more agencies than necessary in Bangkok which will readily offer an inexpensive trip, you can get to Damnoen Saduak on your own by public transport. To do so, head to Southern Bus Terminal, where you’ll find the bus #78 leaving every 40 minutes, starting at 6 am. As usual, use your body language to ask for help getting off at the right place. Ticket price is 64 Baht each way.

Hat, Floating Market, Bangkok
Getting here is absolutely worth it

 

The bus will most likely drop you off around 1km away from the market. Be careful there, most “helpful” people will offer to take you all the way to the market for only 1000 Baht (don’t do it!). Unless you find an honestly helpful person, you might have to walk (to the left of the bus station) for 10-15 minutes to save some money and then get the boat ride for 100-200 Baht (this guide is written for those who want to travel cheaply).

Activities

Boat riding

One of the most exciting moments at Damnoen Saduk floating market, just after not getting ripped-off when buying something, is  getting on a boat. For 150 Baht (unless you have better haggling skills than us) you will get to see the market and its surrounding areas aboard a raw/motor boat.

Boat riding, Bangkok
Boat riding was amazing

 

The journey will take you through a labyrinth of canals and will last for about 30 minutes. On the way, don’t forget to capture colourful house on stilts and locals going about their daily life.

 Shopping

You should not go to the market and leave without anything new. This is the point of going to the markets. Indulge into the spirit of negotiations where hundreds of sellers want to sell millions of cheap Chinese stuff that most likely will break as soon as you forget who sold it to you, which is resembled in the price.

Souvenirs
Some souvenirs sold on the market

 

Start haggling at half the price or less, sometimes way less. Damnoen Saduak  is the right place to stock up on souvenirs your family awaits when you get back home.

Spices and herbs, floating market, bangkok
You can get lots of herbs and spices, wine, fruits and more.

Eating

Here’s a truly unique experience. Damnoen Saduak will present to you food you have never seen or tried anywhere else. Mostly sold by old locals directly from their boats. Food prices range from 10 Baht to 60 Baht depending on your haggling skills and appetite.

Chinese dumplings, Bangkok
The best Chinese dumplings we have ever eaten. Must try when visiting the market

 

Your diet may be put to a test by deliciously looking and smelling food, never-mind the great taste.

There’s an old lady selling Chinese dumpling on plates made of leafs. They taste nothing like Chinese dumplings… they are way better!

Cobra show

Advertisement outside the venue says it’s “the most exciting show in the world“. Somehow doubtful, but you should check it out for yourself. The price is around 400 Baht.

Python, man, Bangkok
You can take a photo with a python

 

If you do go to the show, please let us know what you think, since we have not tried it.

Sleeping

Wherever you are in Thailand, assuming you travel on a budget, you should not pay more than $10 a night for a room (one or two people). Bangkok being one of the most expensive will try to get to the bottom of your pocket, but worry not.

Accommodation, cheap room in Bangkok
Our cheap room in Bangkok

 

Khao San Road is the backpackers’ area where you should look for affordable shelter. To stretch your budget further ask around for good price which starts at 200 Baht for a room where 2 people can sleep. The only drawback is lack of air condition, which you should forget about if you really want to travel cheap.

Summary

The whole trip, whether half or full day, can cost you as little as 700 Baht, which is less than 25 bucks. This includes a night in hotel, transport there and back (Bangkok-Damnoen Saduak), street food all day and a boat ride. Share the room with someone and you’ll be able to get an expensive $5 souvenir at the market.

The view of Floating Market, Bangkok
The view from bridge

 

Leave alone the costs, it’s a must-do trip in Thailand and you won’t regret this choice. Colourful photos will remind you of the beauty and charm of Damnoen Saduak floating market!

Click here to see more photos of Damnoen Saduak.

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24 Comments

  • I want to go to Thailand! I was actually meant to go a few years back when I went on a school trip – combined one to Thailand and Malaysia, but they decided Thailand was too dangerous then (2005) so we only went to Malaysia. Want to see what I missed out on! Great tips as always :)

    • Hey Sarah,

      You are not far away, so all you need is some time off. I know it’s easier said than done, but impossible is nothing so get it done :D You’ll love Thailand, people are so cheerful.

      Enjoy China in the meantime.

      Have fun,
      Cez

  • Your tips are great, but I still think I would spend more that 25$ at that market. I would buy too many souvenirs and too much street food!

    • Hi Emily,

      Yeah, I forgot to mention we are hard-core budget travelers. It’s still possible to get some souvenirs and good eat on $25 in Thailand, wait till we get to South America.

      Safe travels,
      Cez

  • I’ve never spent any time in Thailand. This looks like a great way to spend a day at a fantastic price. I would never like a snake wrapped around me!

    • Hey Leigh,

      Well, I’d strongly recommend to go then! It’s a fantastic country and not that many snakes, so don’t worry.

      Enjoy your journey,
      Cez

    • Hi! We are glad you found it useful. Most of our posts will be written the same way- travelling ideas under $25. Have a great time. Are you heading to Thailand on your vacation? Thanks a lot for sharing my article with your readers. Much appreciate it!

    • I guess it’s the same. Most of travellers go there, it’s a very common place to explore in Thailand. Good to know it hasn’t changed! :)

  • Hi Cez and Agness, Excellent report on Dannoen Saduak! It’s been years since I’ve been there, but you hit some really great tips – go early before the main tourist bus crowds come, and take a boat ride through the canals. Good job for getting there by local transportation as well!

  • I went here during my visir – made a point of it. Absolutey loved the colourful sights & smells! It’s a photographer’s haven. & got to stop at the central market to wander about a bit. Did you ride the elephant next door through the bush?

    • That’s right, the colours are unforgettable – especially when you capture them with your camera. We have not been to elephant riding in Thailand. We knew we will have this opportunity in Sri Lanka. Have you done it? If so, please share your experience with us :)

  • Visited the ‘most amazing show’ on the river market park as a child (around 8/9 years ago). As far as I remember it was a western guy just squeezing venom out of a massive python around his neck – nothing very impressive but amazing if you have children, as it was for me!

  • In here but have no idea where to get the bus back to Bangkok as came by bus from Kanchanaburi. Can you remember where the stop is? Cheers. Claire

    • I’m really sorry, I tried but can’t remember. Also I’m sorry for my very late reply, I’m sure you already worked out your way back. It would be great if you could share it with us here

  • Thanks for sharing. Am going next week, hope I brave enough to travel on my own instead of using tour company. Language is my barrier … huhuhuhuhu

  • Hi
    I am a single mum travelling to Bangkok with my 2 teenage daughters in August. We are doing an overnight at the Jungle Raft Resort on the River Kwai and planning to do the floating market. Have you any other tips for us whilst we are there? I’ve booked into a decent hotel as we are on our own, will we be ok at night shopping?? People are telling me stories and I’m a bit apprehensive now :)

  • Hi Cez,

    I really like your post. I was an exchange student in Thailand 2008-2009 and for the first time Im going back to the land of slimes with my family! Before going to Krabi we are going to spend 3 days in Bkk, I sent several e-mails to tourism agencies, because I thought packages would be more confortable, but the prices are very very salt! Of course I will be doing what you did to arrive in the Floating Market, but my doubt stays on the language, even I lived there I can’t read it. So does the bus have english words?
    Where did you stay in Bkk?

    Thank you

    Jaqueline

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